Ovarian Cyst

Ovarian Cyst

WomanCare Clinic

Meriter WomanCare Clinic
20 S. Park Street, Suite 450
Madison, WI 53715
Telephone: (608) 417-5433 or 1-888-409-3852

UW Health - OB/GYN
20 S. Park Street, Suite 307
Madison, WI 53715
Telephone: (608) 287-2830


An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that forms in or on the ovaries.

Alternative Names

  • Functional cysts
  • Corpus luteum cysts
  • Dermoid cysts
  • Neoplastic cysts
  • Cystadenomas
  • Endometriomas

Causes of Pain

  • Bleeding of the cyst
  • Torsion
  • Rupture
  • Hemorrhage

What is an Ovarian Cyst?

An ovarian cyst is a sac filled with fluid. Ovarian cysts form during the normal process of ovulation; these cysts are called functional cysts. Most functional ovarian cysts are small, do not cause symptoms, are constantly changing during the menstrual cycle and go away on their own.

In general, treatment options are watchful waiting and surgical removal, which are based on the type of ovarian cyst. Some ovarian cysts are not related to menstrual function. Neoplastic cysts are abnormal and usually cause pain. Most are benign, rarely are they malignant (cancerous). Most ovarian cysts that are cancerous occur in women over 50.

Women may experience abnormal bleeding, sharp abdominal pain, pain during intercourse, and pelvic pain if a cyst leaks fluid or bleeds. Large cysts that do not go away on their own within a few months may need to be removed by surgery. Most cysts that require surgery are persistent and larger than 4 cm. The extent and type of surgery that is needed will depend on the size of cyst, type of cyst, the patient’s age, the patient’s symptoms and the patient’s desire to have children.